Iridium Satellite Phones USA

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Iridium Satellite Phones

Iridium's original communications device, the satellite phone, remains a key part of their portfolio for connectivity solutions today. Iridium® satellite phones enable voice, messaging, and data services from anywhere on Earth with robust hardware designed to meet the needs of adventurers, international travelers, government agencies, and heavy industry no matter where their work takes them.


The Iridium communications service was officially launched on November 1, 1998 by what was then known as Iridium Satellite Service Corporation. Motorola provided the technology and major financial backing.The first Iridium phone call was made by then Vice President of the United States Al Gore to Gilbert Grosvenor , chairman of the National Geographic Society and great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell.

The founding company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy nine months later on August 13, 1999.  A result of mismanagement, programming problems and the prohibitive cost of service. However the company found its way through and Iridium service was restarted in 2001 by the newly founded Iridium Satellite LLC, which was owned by a group of private investors. Today Iridium offers some of the best satellite service in the world.

The logo of the company represents the Big Dipper The company derives its name from the chemical element iridium which has an atomic number of 77, equaling the initial number of satellites which were planned to be deployed. 

The Network

The one of a kind architecture of Iridium's satellite constellation makes it the only network that covers 100% of the planet. Cross-linked satellites provide reliable, low- latency, weather-resistant connections that support communication anywhere on Earth.

Iridium satellite constellation

The Iridium system uses 66 active satellites orbiting the earth to complete its constellation. Spare satellites are also kept in-orbit to serve in case of any failure or malfunction. The satellites are at an altitude of approximately 485 miles (~780 km) above the earth in six polar low earth orbital planes. Satellites communicate the each other by relaying their messages using a Ka band inter-satellite link (ISL). Most recently in January 2017, at a cost of $3 billion, Iridium began to launch its next-generation satellites campaign, Iridium NEXT. These new satellites were sent into space on SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicles from the Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 4 in California over the course of eight separate launches between January 2017 and February 2019.

Iridium's Enabling Technologies

Inside every Iridium connected device there's a module that enables connectivity with the Iridium network. Once connected, communications with virtually any other voice or digital device on the planet is now possible.

Iridium builds and designs many products including satellite phones, Internet of Things (IoT) terminals, and other mobile connectivity solutions.

Iridium also makes their central technologies available to an ecosystem of partners who develop connected solutions for businesses, governments and individuals around the world

Trusted by millions of users in markets all around the globe, Iridium keeps you connected to what matters the most.

Iridium's Most Popular Satellite Phone

Far and away the two most popular phones on the Iridium Network are the Iridium 9555 and the Iridium 9575 Extreme.

The 9555 A Reliable Handset for Tough Customers

The Iridium 9555 packs a lot of features into a portable handset. With industrial grade design, its compact, and easy to use with aerodynamic features such as an internally stowed antenna. This stylish, durable satellite phone is designed to easily go wherever you do.

Features Include:

Extended Battery Life

Up to (4) hours of talk time, (30) hours of standby

200 Character Illuminated Display

Integrated Speakerphone

Internally Stowed Antenna

Upgraded Mini-USB Data Port

Support for Mobile Tethering

Internal and SIM-Based Address Book

Selectable Ring & Alert Tones

Keypad and PIN Lock Options

The 9575 Extreme The Next Step in Durability

The Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone is the toughest handset to be made from the only company that offers truly reliable global communications. The Extreme sat phone comes with more features and more accessories than any other satellite phone on the market. Iridium Extreme puts more capability and more ways to connect in your hands than ever before. These features include:

Integrated Tracking

The Iridium Extreme offers location-based solutions providing real time tracking to increase efficiencies in commerce, improve emergency and military response times, keep track of critical assets or simply keep family and friends in the loop.

Access users through on-demand tracking

Monitor employees en route with position updates and geo-fencing

Use scheduled check-ins and instruct daily missions remotely

Let family and friends track your location online through social media updates

Ensure safety of remote workers

Easily disable tracking on demand for stealth operations

Using Google Maps™, Iridium Extreme even allows you to send an SMS text message with your precise location coordinates to anyone, from anywhere on the planet

SOS Emergency Button

The Iridium Extreme comes equipped with a programmable, GPS-enabled, one-touch SOS button. With a Satellite Emergency Notification Device (SEND) compliant SOS button design, Iridium Extreme can alert your programmed contact of your location and will help create a 2-way connection to emergency services to assist.

Military-Grade Toughness

Iridium's smallest satellite phone, the Extreme is tough as nails and built to take a beating. Ruggedly engineered for high usage customers in the harshest conditions, anywhere on earth.

Military-grade 810F durability

Ingress Protection rating of IP65

Built dust-proof, shock-resistant and jet-water resistant

GPS positioning, online tracking, and data tethering

Includes a speakerphone and wind resistant microphone

A diamond tread, tapered grip gives it superior in-hand ergonomics

The Iridium Extreme is compatible with all of our Iridium Satellite Phone Service Plans.

Iridium Extreme Push to Talk Phones

The Iridium Extreme comes in a Push-to-Talk (PTT) version that gives global radio communication. With Push-to-Talk technology you can instantly communicate with other PTT phones at the touch of a button – globally. Enjoy Instant radio com links with unlimited PTT talk time. No towers or infrastructure required.

Iridium GO!

Iridium GO! is a portable and powerful satellite wifi hotspot allowing multiple users to connect smart devices to use voice, text messaging, map and weather data as well as SOS and GPS navigation.

Iridium GO! features a water resistant design to withstand tough weather conditions. Simply power on the device and it automatically connects to Iridium's global satellite network. The Iridium GO! app features a simple user interface that is easy to navigate.

Satellite Phone Antennas

External Antennas

Iridium and Iridium Connected® solutions connect anywhere on the planet with a clear view of the sky. External antennas can help ensure connectivity in situations where devices are used inside of buildings or vehicles. An external antenna will also help improve the speed and reliability of Iridium Connected devices.

Satellite Phone Cost

It is possible to purchase used handsets for the Iridium networks at prices ranging from US$200 to US$300. However, new handsets will cost more. As an average you will be spending around US$1000 for a new device.

An Iridium satellite phone is designed for use on its own network and cannot be used on another network. The cost of a satellite handset varies with the quality of service. If a satellite phone company like Iridium encounters trouble with its network and has to launch new satellites, handset prices will drop first, then rise when the new satellites are launched. Similarly, handset prices tend to rise when calling rates are lowered.

Among the most expensive Iridium satellite devices are BGAN terminals, often costing several thousand dollars US. These phones provide about 50 kB/s Internet and voice communication.

Calling Cost

The cost of making calls from a satellite phone ranges from $0.15 to $2 per minute, while calling them from landlines or mobile phones is typically more expensive. The receiver of the call pays nothing, unless they are being called via a special reverse-charge service. Occasionally there special offers, but such promotions are usually bound to a particular geographic area where traffic is low. Costs for data transmissions (particularly broadband data) can be expensive. Data rates range from $3 to $14 per minute with Iridium. This is comparable with other high end networks. 

Calls between different satellite phone networks are often very expensive, with calling rates of up to $15 per minute.

Iridium pre-paid plans are often the most cost effective way to use an Iridium satellite phone.


How Does Iridium Cover the Entire Earth?

The Iridium constellation consists of 66 LEO satellites that ensure global coverage. That's more satellites in orbit than any other network.

As well as being the only network that offers 100% global communications coverage, according to an independent study Iridium's network also had the best call quality compared with similar networks. This is one reason that the US military relies on the Iridium network.

A Note for Travelers:  Iridium's coverage is global, but Iridium complies with U.S. embargo restrictions. And as such, it is prohibited from providing products/service in the following countries: Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Each country is unique and regulations may change without warning. Check with the local consulate or customs office for info.

Why do people need satellite phones?

Satellite phones allow you to communicate wherever there is no reliable landline or cellular service. Since the satellites are in space and don't depend on land-based infrastructure, they're less vulnerable to events on Earth like natural disasters that can disrupt cellular or landline services.

Should I rent or own a satellite phone?

If you need a satellite phone for more than six weeks a year, then purchasing a phone is probably your best bet. If you spend less than one month a year in regions lacking reliable landline or cellular coverage, we suggest a satellite phone rental for the times you need it.

If I buy multiple satellite phones can they share one SIM card?

No, if you want to use each satellite phone, each one will need its own SIM card. A satellite SIM card can be moved to another compatible phone, but to make calls, each satellite phone needs its own SIM card with an active monthly plan or prepaid airtime. Iridium offers prepaid airtime options from 75-600 global satellite minutes to fit any budget. If your Iridium Global Prepaid SIM card expires, your airtime will be removed from the card but you will have a 270 day refill window to purchase a refill. Outside of that 270 day window, you will need to purchase a new SIM card and also receive a new number at the time you activate the new card.

Who owns the most satellites for phone service?

Iridium owns the biggest commercial satellite constellation in the world. They operate an array of 66 satellites that cover the entire globe. So no matter where you are, if you have clear access to the sky, you can make a call on the Iridium satellite network.

Which satellite phone accessories are worth owning?

That depends on how you plan to use your satellite device. A spare battery is always a good idea. Also, all satellite phone manufacturers offer compatible docking stations with an external antenna that can be stationed outdoors, enabling the satellite phone or device to be used inside a cabin, vehicle, boat or plane. You'll find a selection of docking stations and related accessories for each model of phone on our website. You can also email us if you'd like to discuss options.

Is a US Number Helpful?

Users who have a docked satellite phone that they keep ready to use at all times often choose to have a U.S. number. Most satellite phones in the field have their batteries turned off to conserve power. So, in this example, a US number doesn't offer any benefits since incoming calls go straight to voicemail, and retrieving the voicemail incurs additional airtime charges. Fortunately, there is an easier way! Ask your friends to send a text message to your satellite telephone. Remember that your Iridium mobile number (not your US number) will appear on caller ID.

Do I pay long distance or roaming charges with satellite phones?

There are no long distance or roaming charges with the Iridium satellite network.




Category Questions

The one truly global handset is Iridium. The 9555 & 9575 are stand alone units while the Iridium GO! pairs via blue tooth with your cellular phone. 

These options fall under Iridium's global network of 66 low earth orbiting satellite that spend about 11 minutes overhead and then hand off to the next satellite providing coverage in your area.

The Inmarsat handset the ISAT2 is a popular handset that while fantastic for a large portion of the planet fails around the Arctic and Antarctic circles. It is also easier to lose connectivity due to requiring line of sight to a satellite over the equator. 

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Prepaid SIM's are shipped inactive and the customer chooses when to activate by submitting a request online. The validity starts from that date. Our sim's are usually active within minutes of the customer request through our online portal. 

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When calling from an Iridium handset the charges to call are the same, whether it be from your company parking lot or the middle of the pacific. The planet is your home calling region. If calling from your Cell or Home phone you will need to discuss this with your long distance provider. They set the rates and Iridium, Inmarsat, Globalstar & Thuraya have no involvement or sway over those rates. ... Read more

The SIM card can only be topped up with the original plan type. So the Global plans will only accept a top up of another Global Plan, and vice versa with the Northern Lights Plans. 

It is possible to switch though. You will need to notify us to delete any minutes remaining if you wish to cross platforms.

Please give us 72 Hours to complete this task, the clock does not tick on the weekends. Our best advices is to submit your request well in advance.



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Satellite phones require line of sight to the satellite to connect. They do not have enough transmit power to go through walls etc. 

We suggest a Docking Station with an RJ11 port, this enables you to connect a cordless phone to the docking station and roam freely indoors. 

This type of installation requires an antenna mounted at the highest point possible on the roof. We would need to know what length cable to provide as well, the proper size is needed to ensure signal propagation, this is a vital aspect of the install. 

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Yes Iridium will work in a moving vehicle. There are a wide variety of Dockng Stations and Antenna's specifically for installation in a wide array of vehicles serving multiple markets. 

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